New building gets 4-Star rating in Durban

Posted On Tuesday, 17 May 2011 02:00 Published by
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24 Richefond Circle, a new office building in Ridgeside Office Park, Umhlanga, has been awarded a 4-Star Green Star SA Office v1 Design rating by the Green Building Council of SA

Richefond is a 4952m2 , 4-storey office building, developed for Shepstone and Wylie. 

According to Manfred Braune, GBCSA’s Technical Executive, as a rated green building, 24 Richefond has a host of unique features, arguably most important of which is that it will consume 49% less energy than an equivalent ‘normal’ building, and 98% less irrigation water.

Green Star SA rates buildings on eight environmental categories, including energy, water, materials and emissions.  The tool sets out specific environmental initiatives or targets (credits) in each category, and buildings are awarded points for each credit they comply with.  The total points will determine the building’s Green Star SA rating – either a four, five or six star. 

“Energy is a major focus, and as such, points earned in this category carry significant weight in the Green Star SA certification. Projects are rewarded for reducing their energy consumption, with maximum points being rewarded for a 100% reduction in energy use,” notes Braune.  “But there are a wide number of other initiatives that go into a rating.  Some of those at Richefond include the recycling of waste during construction, increased fresh air and natural light, significantly reduced water consumption and the use of recycled materials.”

He notes that during construction, a recycling and reuse initiative was put in place to recycle in excess of 70% of the waste generated. 

“One of the major benefits of green building is increased fresh air and natural light, which create a healthier, more productive working environment.  In 24 Richefond, carbon dioxide sensors have been installed to ensure that there is always a healthy level of fresh air.  80% of the office space will have a direct line of sight to the outdoors – providing essential natural light.    And toxin levels have been reduced – VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) from carpets, paint and adhesives, which are known to cause sick building syndrome, will be dramatically reduced as they comply with strict limits set by Green Star SA.”

The healthier, more productive environment within a green building is rapidly being recognised by tenants internationally.

“The energy savings are achieved mainly through lighting, heating and cooling innovations.  The use of artificial lighting has been minimised in favour of natural daylight, which minimises energy consumption.  Floor areas have their own lighting controls so that entire levels are not lit all at once if it is not necessary.”

In terms of air conditioning, the building makes use of a heat recovery unit which uses exhaust air heat to warm fresh air entering the building, thus minimising energy required for heating.  The building will also use ice storage to reduce the demand for electricity from air conditioning during peak periods. 

The building scored particularly well in Green Star SA’s ‘Water’ category, where water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings such as low-flow taps have been specified. Water meters will also be installed to enable tenants to carefully monitor water usage. 

In addition to this, the building has been designed to achieve a 90% reduction in potable water used for irrigation through the implementation of xeriscape landscaping.

Green Star SA seeks to influence transport patterns by encouraging alternative forms of transport other than cars. The Richefond building provides bicycle storage, showers and lockers.

With regard to Materials, Green Star SA seeks to reduce the quantity of virgin materials used as well encourage a reduction in the embodied energy of resources used.  The amount of cement used in 24 Richefond Circle is significantly reduced by substituting fly ash for 30% of the concrete.   The building is predominantly framed in reinforced concrete, and reinforcing steel used is aimed for a 95% recycled content.

Bruce Kerswill, Executive Chair of GBCSA, says, “Buildings such as 24 Richefond Circle are setting the standards for the industry.  In overseas markets such as Australia and Europe, it is becoming too risky commercially to develop buildings that are not green and we are very pleased that the South African market is rapidly following suit.  The developers of 24 Richefond should be congratulated on their initiative.  Their efforts are likely to be well-rewarded, as recent research shows conclusively that green buildings outperform normal buildings as investments.”

Green Star SA is a South African version of the Australian rating system and to date GBCSA has ‘Office’ and ‘Retail’ tools with Multi-Unit Residential and Public Building tools under construction.

Publisher: eProp
Source: GBCSA

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